[cheering and applause] "ted" cameras are rolling. i say we get this show going. let's do it. tomorrow's future is sitting in our classrooms. i kind of knew it would be hard here as an undocumented person. this ain't no race thing. this a hatred thing. narrator: if we were to reimagine schools today, what would those new classrooms look like? estamos buscando vida. we're searching for a better life. i think it's going to be a pretty exciting time to be alive. [cheering and applause] announcer: "ted talks: education revolution" was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. please welcome your hosts, sara ramirez and baratunde thurston. [cheering and applause]
good evening, and welcome to "ted talks: education." we are so excited to have a packed theater here at town hall in new york city. that's right. yes. and a special welcome to those watching on pbs. i would say we wish you were here, but that would make it really uncomfortable, crowded, and new york city rents are high enough, so why don't we both enjoy from where we are. tonight we will be examining how we teach, marveling at how we learn, and celebrating the time-honored tradition of educating the next generation. the speaker we're about to bring to the stage used to work for a hedge fund. then to help tutor his cousin, he started uploading math lessons to youtube. in true entrepreneurial spirit, he turned these one-on-one lessons and grew them into the khan academy, delivering over 380 million lessons in over 36 languages all across the world.
ladies and gentlemen, please, put your hands together for sal khan. [cheering and applause] i-i'm here today to talk about two ideas that, at least based on my observations at khan academy, are--are kind of the core, the--the key leverage points for--for learning, and it's the idea of mastery and the idea of mindset. and i saw this in the early days when i was working with my cousins. uh, a lot of them were having trouble with math at first because they had all of these gaps accumulate in their--in their learning, and at some point they got to an algebra class, and they might have been a little bit shaky on some of the pre-algebra, and, uh, because of that, uh, they--they thought they didn't have the math gene. i saw in the early days when i was uploading some of those-- those videos on youtube, and--and i realized that people who were not my cousins were watching, and i--you know, at first those--those--those comments
were just simple thank yous, and i thought that was a pretty big deal, but then the comments got a little bit more intense. uh, oh, you know, student after student saying that, uh, they had grown up not liking math, it was getting difficult as they got into more advanced math topics, and by the time they got to algebra, they had so many gaps in their knowledge that they just couldn't engage with it, but when they were a little bit older, they took a little bit of agency, they found resources like khan academy, and they were able to fill in those gaps. in a lot of ways, this is how you would master a lot of things in life. it's the way that you would learn a martial art. in a martial art, you would practice the white belt skills as long as necessary, and only when you've mastered it, you would move on to become a yellow belt. this is not the way that a--a traditional academic model is structured, the type of academic model that most of us grew up in. in a traditional academic model, we group students together, usually by age, and around middle school age, and--and perceived ability, and we shepherd them all together at the same pace, and what typically happens--
let's say we're in a middle school pre-algebra class, and the current unit is on exponents. uh, the teacher will give a lecture on exponents, then we'll, uh, go home, do some homework. the next morning, we'll review the homework. then we'll get another lecture, homework, lecture, homework, and then we get a test, and on that test, maybe i get a 75%, maybe you get a 90%, maybe you get a 95%, and even though that that test has identified gaps in our knowledge-- i didn't know 25% of the material-- even the "a" student, what was the 5% they didn't know? even though we've identified those gaps, the whole class will then move on to the next subject, and that process continues, and--and you immediately start to realize how--how strange this is. i didn't know 25% of the more foundational thing, and now i'm being pushed to the more advanced thing, and this will continue for months, and it will continue for years. always at some point, i might be in algebra class or a trigonometry class, and i hit a wall, and then i start to disengage. so the idea of mastery learning is to do the exact opposite. instead of artificially constraining when and how long you work on something, do it the other way around.
what's variable is when and how long a student actually has to work on something, and what's fixed is that they actually master the material, and it's important to realize that not only will this make the student learn their exponents better, but it will reinforce the-- the right mindset muscles. it makes them realize that if you got 20% wrong on something, it doesn't mean that you have a "c" branded in your dna somehow. it means that you should just keep working on it. you should have grit, you should have perseverance, you should take agency over your learning. a lot of skeptics might say, "well, hey, this is all great, philosophically, this whole idea of mastery-based learning and its connection to mindset, but it seems impractical. to actually do it with students, it seems like every student would be on their own track. it would have to be personalized. you would have to have private tutors." but now today, it's-- it's no longer impractical. we have the tools to do it. if students need an explanation at their own time and pace, well, there's on-demand video for that. they need practice, they need to have feed-- they need feedback, well, there's--there's-- there's adaptive exercises readily available for students. and when that happens, all sorts of neat things happen.
one, the students can actually master the concepts, but they're also building their growth mindset, they're building their grit, their perseverance, the--they're taking agency over their learning, and all sorts of beautiful things can start to happen in the actual classroom, and this isn't even just a--a--nice to have. i--i think it's a social imperative. we're--we're exiting what you call the "industrial age," and we're going into this, whatever, information revolution. in the industrial age, society was a pyramid, and at the base of the pyramid, you had a--a large pool of-- you needed human labor. in the middle of pyramid, you had kind of an information processing, a--a bureaucracy class, and at the top of the pyramid you had your--your owners of capital and--and--and your entrepreneurs and--and your creative class. but we know what's happening already as we go into this information revolution. the--the--the bottom of that-- of that pyramid, automation is going to take over. so as a society, we have a question.
all this new productivity's happening because of this technology, but who participates in it? is it just going to be the very top of the pyramid, in which case, what does everyone else do? how--how do they operate? or do we something that's more aspirational? do we actually attempt to invert the pyramid, where you have a large creative class, where almost everyone can participate as an entrepreneur, an artist, as a researcher? and i don't think that this is utopia. i really think that this is all based on the idea if we let people tap into their potential by mastering concepts that-- that they can get there, when you think about the type of equity we can have and the rate at which civilization could even progress, and so i'm pretty optimistic about it, and i think it's going to be a--a pretty exciting time to be alive. thank you. [cheering and applause] that was great, right?
yeah. our first speaker. as we reimagine the future of schools, filmmaker greg whiteley asked the questions, "what could a modern classroom look like?" and "what effect would that have on the children's experience in the room?" let's take a look. [applause] narrator: over 150 years ago, as jobs began moving from farms to factories, these fathers of the industrial revolution had a vision. to execute this vision, they stole an educational model from the prussian army. as a result, they took kids from one-room schoolhouses and placed them in neat little factories of learning, and the results were actually pretty amazing. for the next 100 years, you could build an actual factory in any u.s. city, and you'd have a young workforce already living there that could read, write, follow basic instructions, but as the world has radically changed since the early days of the industrial revolution, our schools have remained largely the same. bock: you learn how to take tests, you learn how to write reports,
you learn how to do the things that are valued in school. most of those things, you don't actually do in the real world. narrator: and as the skill set required by today's jobs continues to evolve, our nation's young people are being left behind. if we were to reimagine schools today, what would those new classrooms need to look like? would kids need to continue to sit neatly in rows with a teacher at the front? or could we do something different? instead of a lecture, could it be a student-led discussion? he's--since he's been outside, he's seen everything for, like, what they are. so it has to--sorry-- it has to do with knowledge. man: a little bit. because you gain knowledge from going to the outside world, and then you come back in, and then your beliefs change. narrator: instead of studying and taking tests in isolation, could kids work in groups? could teachers also work in teams? throughout history, different civilizations have come to be and then just as quickly gone away.
we're going to take that very abstract concept, and we're going to create a physical manifestation of it. narrator: what if instead of focusing on rote memorization, students focused on projects that combined multiple disciplines and helped foster a much deeper connection to the material. maya: so we started off by learning about the mayans, the romans, and the greeks, and their civilization and how they rose to power. what the projects really help is they don't just give you, "ok, this is what you need to learn, learn it, memorize it." it's more, like, you really need to understand it, and you really need to understand why you need to know this. narrator: today's workplaces require an entirely new set of skills from even a few decades ago. if our kids can learn those skills in the modern classroom, they'll be ready to take on the jobs of the 21st century. if we're willing to take a leap, a leap not unlike the one we took more than a century ago, and to challenge our kids in a fundamentally new way, what they produce might just surprise us. [applause]
coming to the stage is the first ever dean of freshmen at stanford university, but she quickly learned her job title could have been "dean of freshmen parents at stanford university." she's the author of the best-selling book "how to raise an adult," and we are so thrilled to have her here with us tonight. please offer up a warm welcome to julie lythcott-haims. [applause] you know, i didn't set out to be a parenting expert. it's just that there's a certain style of parenting these days that is kind of messing up kids, impeding their chances to develop into their selves. i guess what i'm saying is, we spend a lot of time being very concerned about parents who aren't involved enough in the lives of their kids and their education or their upbringing, and rightly so, but at the other end of the spectrum,
there's a lot of harm going on there, as well, where parents feel a kid can't be successful unless the parent is protecting and preventing at every turn and hovering over every happening and micromanaging every moment and steering their kid towards some small subset of colleges and careers. our kids end up leading a kind of checklisted childhood, and here's what the checklisted childhood looks like. we want to be sure they go to the right schools, but not just that, that they're in the right classes at the right schools, and that they get the right grades in the right classes in the right schools. and when they get to high school, they don't say, "well, what might i be interested in studying or doing as an activity?" they go to counselors, and they say, "what do i need to do to get into the right college?" and then when the grades start to roll in in high school, and they're getting some b's or, god forbid, some c's, they frantically text their friends and say, "has anyone ever gotten into the right college with these grades?"
and they're withering now under high rates of anxiety and depression, and some of them are wondering, will this life ever turn out to have been worth it? well, we parents, we parents are pretty sure it's all worth it. we seem to behave-- it's, like, we literally think they will have no future if they don't get into one of these tiny set of colleges or careers we have in mind for them, or maybe, maybe we're just afraid they won't have a future we can brag about to our friends and with stickers on the backs of our cars. yeah. [applause] and so with our over-help, our over-protection and over-direction and hand-holding, we deprive our kids of the chance to build self-efficacy, which is a really fundamental tenant of the human psyche, far more important than that self-esteem they get every time we applaud.
am i saying every kid is hard-working and motivated and doesn't need a parent's involvement or interest in their lives, and we should just back off and let go? hell, no. that is not what i'm saying. what i'm saying is we should be less concerned with a specific set of colleges they might be able to apply to or might get into and far more concerned that they have the habits, the mindset, the skill set, the wellness to be successful wherever they go. what i'm saying is our kids need us to be a little less obsessed with grades and scores and a whole lot more interested in childhood, providing a foundation for their success, built on things like love and chores. [laughter and applause] did i just say chores? did i just say chores?
i really did. but, really. here's why. the longest longitudinal study of humans ever conducted, it's called the harvard grant study. it found that professional success in life, which is what we want for our kids, that professional success in life comes from having done chores as a kid, and the earlier you started, the better, that a roll up your sleeves and pitch in mindset, a mindset that says, "there's some unpleasant work. "someone's got to do it. it might as well be me." a second very important finding from the harvard grant study said that happiness in life comes from love, not love of work, love of humans, our spouse, our partner, our friends, our family. so childhood needs to teach our kids how to love, and they can't love others if they don't first love themselves, and they won't love themselves if we can't offer them unconditional love. [applause]
right. and so instead of being obsessed with grades and scores when they come home, we need to close our technology, put away our phones, and look them in the eye, and let them see the joy that fills our faces when we see our child for the first time in a few hours, and then we have to say, "how was your day? what did you like about today?" they need to know they matter to us as humans, not because of their gpa. all right, so you're thinking, "chores and love, that sounds all well and good, "but give me a break. "the colleges want to see top scores and grades and accolades and awards," and i'm going to tell you, "sort of." the very biggest brand-name schools are asking that of our young adults, but here's the good news. contrary to what the college rankings racket would have us believe...
[applause] you don't have to go to one of the biggest brand-name schools to be happy and successful in life. happy and successful people went to a state school, went to a small college no one has heard of, went to community college, went to a college over here and flunked out. [cheering and applause] it is hardly the end of the world if our kids don't go to one of those big brand-name schools, and more importantly, if their childhood has not been lived according to a tyrannical checklist, then when they get to college, whichever one it is, well, they'll have gone there on their own volition, fueled by their own desire, capable and ready to thrive there. i have to admit something to you. i've got two kids, sawyer and avery. they're teenagers. and once upon a time, i think i was treating my sawyer and avery
like little bonsai trees... [laughter] that i was going to carefully clip and prune and shape into some perfect form of a human that might just be perfect enough to warrant them admission to one of the most highly selective colleges, but i've come to realize after working with thousands of other people's kids... [laughter] my kids aren't bonsai trees. they're wildflowers of an unknown genus and species... [laughter] and it's my job to provide a nourishing environment to strengthen them through chores and to love them so they can love others and receive love, and the college, the major, the career, that's up to them. my job is not to make them become what i would have them become, but to support them in becoming their glorious selves.
thank you. [cheering and applause] thank you. our next performer is an accomplished singer-songwriter, musician and producer, and she's one of my favorite musicians. i am thrilled to introduce to you tonight meshell ndegeocello. [music playing] ♪ said, baby, do you understand me now? ♪ ♪ sometimes you see i'm mad ♪ no one can always be an angel ♪
♪ sometimes you see some bad ♪ 'cause i'm just a soul whose intentions are good ♪ ♪ oh, lord, please don't let me be misunderstood ♪ ♪ sometimes i feel so carefree ♪ with a joy that's hard to hide ♪ ♪ sometimes all i know is worry ♪ ♪ and then you're bound to see my other side ♪ ♪ 'cause i'm just a soul whose intentions are good ♪ ♪ oh, lord, please don't let me be misunderstood ♪
♪ so if i seem edgy i want you to know ♪ ♪ i never mean to take it out on you ♪ ♪ so life has its problems ♪ i got more than my share ♪ but that's one thing i never mean to do ♪ ♪ 'cause i'm just a soul whose intentions are good ♪ ♪ oh, lord, please don't let me be misunderstood ♪ ♪ oh, lord [applause] please thank otto hauser and mr. jebin bruni.
thank you. i just finished reading our next speaker's book "punished: policing the lives of black and latino boys," and i am so thrilled that "ted" has invited him to speak here tonight. ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to award-winning professor victor rios. [applause] for over a decade, i have studied young people that have been pushed out of school, so-called "dropouts." as they end up failed by the education system, they're on the streets, where they're vulnerable to violence, police harassment, police brutality, and incarceration. i see these young peoples through a perspective that looks at the assets that they bring to the education system.
how do i know that these young people have the potential and the promise to change? i know this because i am one of them. you see, i grew up in dire poverty in the inner city. we were on welfare, sometimes homeless, many times hungry. by the time i was 15 years old, i had been incarcerated in juvie 3 times for 3 felonies. the reason i'm here today is because a teacher that cared reached out and managed to tap into my soul. this teacher, mrs. russ, she was the kind of teacher that was always in your business. i told her a story about my uncle ruben. he would take me to work with him because i was broke, and he knew i needed some money. he collected glass bottles for a living. 4:00 in the morning on a school day,
we'd throw the glass bottles in the back of his van, and the bottles would break, and my hands and arms would start to bleed, and i was terrified and in pain, and i would stop working, and my uncle, he would look at me in the eyes, and he would say to me, "mijo, estamos buscando vida," we're searching for a better life, we're trying to make something out of nothing. mrs. russ listened to my story, welcomed it into the classroom, and said, "victor, this is your power. "this is your potential. "your family, your culture, your community "have taught you a hard-work ethic, "and you will use it to empower yourself in the academic world so you can come back and empower your community." with mrs. russ' help, i ended up returning to school. i even finished my credits on time and graduated with my class.
[applause] but mrs. russ said to me right before graduation, "victor, i'm so proud of you. now it's time to go to college." "college, me? man, what is this teacher smoking, thinking i'm going to college?" i applied, got a letter of acceptance, and one of the paragraphs read, "you've been admitted under probationary status." i said, "probation? i'm already on probation. that don't matter." but what do teachers like mrs. russ do to succeed with young people like the ones i study? i propose 3 strategies. the first: let's get rid of our deficit perspective in education. these people come from a culture of violence, a culture of poverty; these people are at risk;
these people are truant; these people are empty containers for us to fill with knowledge. number two: let's value the stories that young people bring to the schoolhouse. their stories of overcoming unsurmountable odds are so powerful, and i know you know some of these stories. these very same stories and experiences already have grit, character, and resilience in them, so let's help young people refine those stories. and, of course, the third strategy, being the most important: resources. we have to provide adequate resources to young people. grit alone isn't going to cut it. you could sit there and tell me all you want, "hey, man, pick yourself up by the bootstraps," but if i was born without any straps on my boots,
how am i supposed to pick myself up? [applause] job training, mentoring, counseling, teaching young people to learn from their mistakes instead of criminalizing them and dragging them out of their classrooms like animals. how about this? i propose that we implement restorative justice in every high school in america. [applause] so we went out to test these ideas in the community of watts in l.a. with 40 young people that had been pushed out of school. william was one of them. william was the kind of kid that had been given every label. he had been dropped out, he was a gang member, a criminal, and when we met him, he was very resistant, but i remember what mrs. russ used to say.
"hey, i'm here for you whenever you're ready." over time, he began to open up, and i remember the day that he made the switch. we were in a large group, and a young lady in our program was crying because she told us a powerful story of her dad being killed, and as she's crying, i don't know what to do, so i give her her space, and william had enough. he got up from his desk--desk, he slammed his hands on the desk, and he said, "hey! everybody! group hug! group hug!" [applause] this young lady's tears and pain turned into joy and laughter, knowing that her community had her back, and william had now learned that he did have a purpose in life,
to help to heal the souls of people in his own community. he told us his story, we refined his story to go from being the story of a victim to being the story of a survivor that has overcome adversity. william went on to finish high school, get his security guard certificate, and is now working at a local school district. [applause] mrs. russ' mantra was always, when you teach to the heart, the mind will follow. i believe that in this education revolution that we are talking about, we need to invite the souls of the young people that we work with, and once they're able to refine,
identify their grit, resilience, and character that they've already developed, their academic performance will improve. i'll tell you what my teacher did for me. she believed in me so much that she tricked me into believing in myself. thank you. [cheering and applause] georgia is one of 3 u.s. states that bans undocumented students from attending state colleges, so what happens to immigrants who still have the hunger to learn? filmmakers heather courtney and anayansi prado put together this story to answer that question. [applause] arizbeth, voice-over: i grew up most of my life in georgia. i arrived here when i was 6.
i barely have memories of mexico, and all my life has been here. i remember i started thinking about college when i was in ninth grade in high school. i kind of knew it would be hard here as an undocumented person. it feels like georgia doesn't want me, and that's-- it's heartbreaking because it's my home, it's all i've ever known. i feel like i have american values. like, you went to kindergarten with these people, all through high school, you were equal, you were the same, and then all of a sudden, you're not, and it's just because i wasn't born here. i want to study computer software engineering, and i want to be a part of the people who just advance our world. hola. hola. cómo estás? so my dad found out about freedom university
in, like, a tiny newspaper clipping. it talked about this organization that helped undocumented students go to college. like, it helped them find, um, financial aid, find colleges that will actually accept them, and we learn, which is what we want to do. in georgia, for undocumented students, it's just not something easy to achieve. voekel: you want to apply to a place called tougaloo, a historically black college in jackson, mississippi. tougaloo has scholarships for undocumented students... voekel, voice-over: i got involved from the get-go as soon as they decided to ban students from the university of georgia and the top 5 research colleges. um, we were contacted and got in touch with a couple of undocumented students. we asked, "what can we do?" and they said, "what you can do is offer classes," and so that's what we did. male student: freedom university is like a second home. people that go there, they really want to to learn, and they--i mean, i leave that place pumped, you know. like, i learn so many things every class that i go there. female professor: we're going to go through
college admissions 101. we're going to talk about the college application. we're going to talk about college funding. arizbeth, voice-over: freedom u completely changed me. i went--i came out of my shell, the shell that i was forced to be in by my undocumented status, and i found my voice. [applause] and now i get to introduce to you someone i've actually had the honor and the pleasure of working with, and i truly admire her work so much. please welcome to the stage actor, playwright, and professor anna deavere smith. [cheering and applause] [trumpet playing] [applause]
thank you, sara. thank you, scrapper. so, um, i've been going across the country since 2013, uh, trying to learn what i can about why, uh, so many poor kids can't make it through school and very often end up in the criminal justice system, and so when trying to think about what i might like to share with you, i decided i would share with you two young people who i met in baltimore, maryland. now, my process is that i interview people, and then i represent them word for word, so that's what you're going to see. and, uh, this first, uh, person is a young lady named india sledge. i call this "no music." i like to give titles to the things that people have said to me. ohh. when that freddie gray thing happened, and a lot of stuff was going on,
my boyfriend jake was literally just walking to the store. the police jacked him up and threw him against the wall for no reason, checked him for no reason. after that his mom was like, "i gots to get out of here "because the only thing around this area is just drug dealers, drug dealers, drug dealers." and i think that the police be messing with the men instead of females. i think that's probably because of how the boys dress. they dress inappropriate outside, walking around with their pants sagging, instead of wearing your pants how you're supposed to wear them, on your behind. um, men, boys, they wear their pants low, like down here. down here, yes. they don't care. instead of wearing a belt. they don't wear a belt. just walking around with their pants sagging, standing on the same corner. police riding past. i think that's really why
the police be messing with the mens instead of the females. i like a male that's doing something with his self, instead of just standing on a corner. why you just standing on the corner? what you going to get out of that? you could be looking for a job, trying to get your high school diploma, because some of them probably didn't even graduate. a lot of boys, when i was in middle school, a lot of boys was doing their work and things. now i see them, and i go, like, "ooh, he just got out of jail. "oh, you selling drugs, "and you was doing so good in school. what happened?" i don't know what it is. sometimes i be walking down the street with my earphones on. they think i be listening to music, but i be hearing everything, because that's one thing my mother told me. she said, "don't be walking down the street "just with your earphones in your ear, "and your music is loud, and i cannot hear my surroundings," so sometimes i be walking down the street
in my earphones and no music. i just be walking. i don't like to be bothered when i'm walking. and that's india sledge from baltimore, maryland. [applause] and, um, this young man is named allen bullock. uh, he made the newspapers because he was said to have demolished a police car during the riots, uh, and his bail was $500,000, which is what, uh, got him in the news, and he is here referring to an idea that freddie gray was killed because he made eye contact with the police officers, and this is called "big stick." i don't even look the police way, to tell you the truth. that's not even me. i don't even pay the police no mind. if they look at me, i just turn my head. if i look back, if i look back at you, i'm not going to mug you, i'm just going to look the other way, you feel me?
that's all there is to it, because if you look at the police so hard or so straight, like, see how he was, freddie gray, in a way. like, around this neighborhood, if the police, the neighborhood police know you in the neighborhood, they're going to do something to you. it could be a quiet neighborhood, anything. if they know you from being bad, or not even being bad, hanging in the area, hanging with somebody that they know that's bad, they're going to harass you. i done had the police ask me, why i am walking in the street? why am i crossing the street? what you mean why am i crossing the street? i say something back, they jump out the car, so i get back up on the curb, you feel me? there's no need for you to get out of your car, and, you feel me, and talk to me. you can see why i'm walking across the street. they don't even say, "excuse me, sir" or "come here," none of that, but you just ask me, why am i walking across the street? don't even draw no attention. and even if you don't got nothing on you, i still don't expect for you to draw no attention to the police. the police, they don't care,
even if you don't got nothing on you. why look at the police if you ain't got no problem with the police? why mug the police, you feel me? no reason at all. i don't pay the police out here no mind. i don't pay the police no mind. they mug me all day. i don't care about none of that they're doing. i see them, like, you feel me, like, but i don't have too much to say to the police and all that. oh, they beat me like 4 times, i remember, 4 times, only 4 times. uh, they used a-- what's the name? a stick. sometimes they use their hands. there's nothing you can say to protect yourself from the police, except running your mouth, and if you really run your mouth, they're going to do something to you, and if they chase you, and they catch you, and you ain't got nothing on you, they're really going to make it worth their while. they're going to beat you straight. it don't matter if they're black or white. this ain't no black or white situation. i ain't trying to hear that. i've seen plenty of black officers do it--and i'm black-- to black people. i've seen white officers do it.
i see them do it together. this ain't no race thing. this is a hatred thing. what's the point of you locking me up and beating me if you can't find nothing on me? why? because i made you run? come on, now. you train for that. i don't know, the hood police be hating, just [indistinct] they could see you have a couple dollars in your hand, no drugs, no nothing, just a couple dollars, and they think you're doing wrong. what is it with you? you don't know me, i work, and yet you pull me over asking me where's this money come from. you ain't got no right to ask me where my money come from. you ain't got no right to check me, you feel me? you ain't go no warrant, no nothing, to put your hands on me, period, but, hey, they do it, and i'm not going to sit here and fuss with you about none of that, because i know you the police, and you're going to do what you want regardless, and you got a big stick, so, so, hey.
[applause] filmmaker geeta gandbhir has won two emmys and 3 peabodys for her work. perri peltz is a distinguished journalist, and she's a public health advocate. and they worked together on this next film that examines how unconscious bias can sometimes sneak up on us. let's take a look. [applause] [telephone rings] boy: hi, mom, it's me.
i got in trouble again at school today. jones: hi, this is miss jones again. i'm finding your son very disruptive in class, more so than other students. boy: i feel like the teacher doesn't like me. other kids do bad things, but they don't get in trouble. jones: he's defiant and shows a real lack of respect for any structure or authority. boy: i hate school because the teachers are always mean to me, and i don't feel like i'm learning anything. jones: i'm really concerned about his behavior. it doesn't bode well for his future. boy: i'm always getting in trouble for what i didn't do. we're going to have to adopt a zero-tolerance policy, young man. boy: school keeps calling my mother, and she gets really, really mad at me. what is going on? you better explain yourself. boy: i feel like the whole world is just turned up against me and doesn't like me anymore. there are days i get up, and i just decide i'm not going to school. girl: if you go to the park, like, everybody's always telling me i'm not worth anything, so what's the point of trying?
[police sirens] boy: i know the cops are watching us, but we just hope we don't get caught. [telephone rings] female teacher: your son's absences are a problem. they will definitely affect his grade point average. boy: i don't feel safe in my class anymore. should i assume you're unprepared again today? boy: i would always eventually get picked on by the teacher, and he makes examples of me. girl: i feel really singled out, and i just try to avoid people because every time i look, somebody's always talking about me, "oh, she's always getting in trouble." boy: but i started fighting more because nobody wants to hang out around a troublemaker. the only time i have real friends is when i'm on the block, so... that's where i'll stay. [telephone rings] man: i'm sure you understand we take our discipline policies very seriously here at the school. we need to ensure a safe learning environment for all students. what are we going to do about your son?
[telephone rings] [applause] one of the toughest jobs in america has got to be school principle, so in 2010, when our next speaker founded the mott hall bridges academy in brownsville, brooklyn... [cheering and applause] one of the rowdiest neighborhoods in new york city... [laughter] she created for herself a very difficult job. we are so fortunate to have her here with us tonight, a very incredible principle here, to share a story of success. please put your hands together for nadia lopez. [applause] when i opened mott hall bridges academy in 2010,
my goal was simple: open a school to close a prison. now, to some, this was an audacious goal, because our school is located in the brownsville section of brooklyn, one of the most underserved and violent neighborhoods in all of new york city. like many urban schools with high poverty rates, we face numerous challenges, like finding teachers who can empathize with the complexities of a disadvantaged community, lack of funding for technology, low parental involvement, and neighborhood gangs that recruit children as early as fourth grade. so here i was, the founding principle of a middle school that was a district public school, and i only had 45 kids to start.
30% of them had special needs, 86% of them were below grade level in english and in math, and 100% living below the poverty level. if our children are not in our classrooms, how will they learn? and if they're not learning, where will they end up? it was evident when i would ask my 13-year-old, "young man, where do you see yourself in 5 years?" and his response, "i don't know if i'm going to live that long." or to have a young woman say to me that she had a lifelong goal of working in a fast food restaurant. to me, this was unacceptable. it was also evident that they had no idea that there was a landscape of opportunity that existed beyond their neighborhood. we call our students scholars
because they're lifelong learners, and the skills that they learn today will prepare them for college and career readiness. i chose the royal colors of purple and black because i want them to be reminded that they are descendants of greatness, and that through education, they are future engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and even leaders who can and will take over this world. to date, we have had 3 graduating classes. [applause] at a 98% graduation rate, this is nearly 200 children who are now going to some of the most competitive high schools in new york city. [applause]
it was a cold day in january when my scholar vidal chastanet met brandon stanten, the founder of the popular blog "humans of new york." brandon shared the story of a young man from brownsville who had witnessed violence firsthand by witnessing a man being thrown off of a roof, yet he could still be influenced by a principal who had opened up a school that believes in all children. vidal embodies the story of so many of our underprivileged children who are struggling to survive, which is why we must make education a priority. brandon's post created a global sensation that touched the lives of millions. this resulted in $1.4 million being raised for our scholars
to attend field trips to colleges and universities, [indistinct] programs, as well as college scholarships. when 200 young people from brownsville visited harvard, they now understood that a college of their choice was a real possibility, and the impossibilities that had been imposed upon them by a disadvantaged community was replaced by hope and purpose. the revolution in education is happening in our schools with adults who provide love, structure, support, and knowledge. these are the things that inspire children, but it is not an easy task, and there are high demands within an education system that is not perfect, but i have a dynamic group of educators.
they take time beyond their school day and come in on weekends and even use their own money to often provide resources when we do not have it, and as the principal, i have to inspect what i expect, so i show up in classes, and i conduct observations to give feedback, because i want my teachers to be just as successful as the name mott hall bridges academy. and i give them access to me every single day, which is why they all have my personal cell number, including my scholars and those who graduated, which is probably why i get phone calls and text messages at 3:00 in the morning, but we are all connected to succeed, and good leaders do this. tomorrow's future is sitting in our classrooms, and they are our responsibilities .
that means everyone in here and those who are watching the screen, we must believe in their brilliance and remind them by teaching them that there indeed is power in education. thank you. [applause] thank you so much. and i just want to say to my mott hall scholars who are here and my staff and my parents, thank you so much. [applause] so right now i have the pleasure of introducing my co-host in a whole new role. she is a multitalented, multi-hyphenated, tv award-winning superstar
who can add "singer" to the top of that list, and you're about to be blessed to hear the amazing voice singing "rollercoaster," miss sara ramirez. [cheering and applause] ♪ rollercoaster ♪ carousel ♪ where the highs are heaven ♪ but the lows, oh, they can be hell ♪ ♪ you can grab the ring ♪ you can ring that bell ♪ but when the ride is over ♪ you can never tell ♪ people tell you this one thing ♪ ♪ will make your life complete ♪ so you, you give it everything you've got ♪
♪ and you wind up on the street ♪ ♪ then one day you wake up ♪ and they tell you you're a queen ♪ ♪ but then you find that someone else ♪ ♪ is pulling all the strings ♪ rollercoaster ♪ carousel ♪ where the highs are heaven ♪ but the lows, oh, they can be hell ♪ ♪ you can grab the ring ♪ you can ring that bell ♪ when the ride is over ♪ you can never tell ♪ carousel ♪ rollercoaster, yeah, yeah, yeah ♪
♪ carousel ♪ carousel ♪ carousel ♪ carousel ♪ carousel [cheering and applause] thank you. michael pemberton. thank you so much. thank you. thurston: keep it going for sara ramirez! so good. thank you. what a great way to close out the show, and i want to thank all of you for letting me be a part of this journey. i feel smarter and more aware. thank you all very much. thank you to the filmmakers, thank you, yes. to the organizers, yes, thank you so much. to public television, and to all of you. thank you. take this with you.
thank you. thank you so much, everybody. bye. [music begins] ♪ ♪ i'm surprised every sunrise ♪ the earth would have me back ♪ surprised my knees hold me up ♪ ♪ and that it's not all gone black ♪ announcer: to learn more about this program and for links to more "ted talks, " visit pbs.org/tedtalks. ♪ my only friend's my flask ♪ i wish i knew my mama ♪ i wish i could forgive my dad ♪ ♪ i should've known better ♪ i wish i had ♪ seen more good than bad
♪ done more good than bad for stories from the v.oworld around us... on pbs! stories of the fearless... man: these human towers give us a glimpse into what it takes to defy gravity. v.o.:...and the new world. woman: our kids are going to have to work with knowledge that hasn't been discovered yet. v.o.: for stories that get you closer... ...to life! think wednesday! tomorrow starting at 8, 7 central. think pbs! announcer: "ted talks: education revolution" was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. ♪
(reporter) if you pick up a newspaper, if you watch tv you hear that the american education system is in crisis, it's broken, it's failing. is that really true? (ms. mahn) today we're taking the map test, and the information that we get helps us determine where we need to go. now how many of y'all are going to work? how many of y'all are going to make yourselves proud? and if your best is going up 5 points, then that's fine. if your best is going up 20 points, i'll take it. third grade, you know your goal. 203 is exemplary, that's out the door, on the way to that little store, with money. (female) we have 80% of the children that theoretically do need food bags, so, with 10,000 students in the school district we're only doing 425. (carlita davis) the schools do have high poverty, and it is a factor that can't be ignored,